Brief Reflections on the Regular-Season Finale

I don't really have a whole lot to add to what John and Shannon said in their excellent posts about the LSU game, but in order to increase my chances of a fat year-end bonus, I wanted to put up some quick thoughts about the contest. Larry King, eat your heart out:

• The sting of defeat faded very quickly for me after Saturday's game. I'm not entirely sure why that was the case, but part of it was that I was kind of expecting things to turn out the way they did. When LSU began its final drive, I said to my family, "There's too much time left. I have a bad feeling about this." The ending just felt inevitable.

Another factor was the sense that we were due a loss like this to LSU. We broke their hearts in thrilling fashion in 2007 and 2008, and you just knew that, sooner or later, the Tigers were going to return the favor. The football gods demand it. 

But probably the biggest reason the blues didn't linger is because I'm so excited about the direction of the program. This year feels like the beginning of something special. Clearly, in the cases of the defense and the special teams unit, there is work to be done. But I have confidence that Petrino and his staff will make the necessary improvements in those areas. The day is coming fast when Hog fans will be very disappointed with a 7-5 record and a Liberty Bowl berth, but for this Hog fan, at least, that time hasn't arrived yet.

• After the Houston Nutt era, it felt downright strange for an overtime game to last only one extra period. But the Razorback offense's zombie-like performance in OT ensured that the party ended rather quickly. Erin Andrews noted before the overtime began that the Arkansas offense threw a rather raucous sideline celebration after the Mallett-to-Adams touchdown and noted that it would be interesting to see if they had anything left in the tank.

It's pretty obvious they didn't. Sounds like they thought their night was over when Adams caught the ball in the endzone and began to unwind and lose their focus. When they had to get back out on the field, they found they couldn't restart their engines. At least that's what I think.

• Their stats weren't overwhelming, but I thought our running backs played really well on Saturday night. Broderick Green looks like a completely different player than he did earlier in the season, and Ronnie Wingo was a huge part of the second-half comeback. My favorite back, though - maybe my favorite Razorback overall - is Dennis Johnson. Watching him churn out extra yards with defenders hanging all over him is a sight to behold. Seriously, that dude is super tough.

• Speaking of favorites, Greg Childs, who had a monster game on Saturday, is high on my list as well. Much like Johnson, Childs is great at getting an additional yard or two (or five) when a defender has his hands on him. Watching Childs' emergence was one of the most enjoyable aspects of this regular season - as was learning that we have a player named Van Stumon on the roster.

• Looking ahead a bit, I never thought I would be this excited about a spot in the Liberty Bowl, but I am. I guess that's what a bowl-less season will do to you. Given Memphis' proximity to the university and the Hogs' tendnency to end up in fair-to-middlin' bowls, I was surprised to see that Arkansas has only appeared in the Liberty Bowl three times - in 1971 against Tennessee, in 1984 against Auburn and in 1987 against Georgia. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they lost all three games. Also unsurprisingly, ArkansasSports360's Jim Harris has penned a comprehensive look back at those contests.

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